Monday, December 31, 2007

Farewell 2007

New Year's Eve is upon us. As well as another 10 " of snow!! I think we have now broken the record for the snowiest December on record. Another storm is on the way for tomorrow night. I wonder if we will be going back to school on Wednesday or if we'll have yet another snow day!!

At this time of year, we all tend to look back and reflect on the past twelve months. I usually try to pick my favorite reads of the year. But this year I haven't had time for that. I'm so busy working on my upcoming BER seminar that I've done little else. Well, I'm also trying to finish up my book too. I guess I could really use a snow day!!

ALA is just a week away. I am looking forward to it but midwinter tends to be more about meetings than attending great workshops. I have come home on Sunday so I'll miss the awards announcement on Monday morning. I'll be watching the telecast at work though.

I've uploaded a couple of more podcasts. Abeele, Veronique van den. STILL MY GRANDMA is a lovely story about a young child who starts noticing changes in Grandma. When Grandma is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the little girl finds new ways to relate to her beloved grandmother.

Amado, Elisa. TRICYCLE is an interesting story about a little girl of means who watches while her poor neighbor steals her tricycle. The little girl must decide what to do about it. And how she feels about it.
I wish everyone a very safe, peaceful and happy New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back on the podcast scene

I can't believe it has been almost 3 weeks since I posted a podcast! That is so unlike me! The holidays have been busy. We've had plenty of snow so had a delightful white Christmas. They are predicting another 4 inches tonight which should make this the snowiest December in history for us. We've already had 2 snow days and 2 delays. That's usually what we get for the whole year. There are only 2 days built into the school calendar so we may be going late this year!

My days off have been busy with lots of projects. I'm finishing up the book I'm writing and hope to have this done by the time I head back to school next week. I'm also working on my upcoming seminar for BER. And the one for Otter Creek. I've also been asked to be a regular contributer to Scholastic's new Book Wizard. Too cool. But way busy, busy, busy.

There has been a lot of talk on the lists about Sherman Alexie's book. I loved it and it is today's podcast.

Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

I've been remiss in my podcasting and my blogging. The holidays are upon us, there is lots and lots of snow and I've been busy getting ready. I did take a quiz about holiday spirit and this may explain why I've been "away" from the computer. I guess I have an overabundance of holiday cheer!!

Your Christmas Sprit Level: 95%

Your Christmas spirit is almost as big as Christmas itself. Christmas is definitely your thing.
You celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm. You love every minute of the holidays.

Your Christmas spirit is inspiring to everyone who runs into you during the holidays.
You make everyone's day just a little bit brighter. And that's what the holidays are all about!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ladybug winner announced

It was announced Thursday afternoon on The Center for the Book Blog ( that The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Stephen Gammell  was the winner of the 2007 Ladybug Picture Book Award.  Congratulations Judy and Stephen!!!

The Ladybug Picture Book Award is voted on by children in grades K-3 in New Hampshire.

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Wednesday Wars

Busy day today. Worked with 8th graders on their folktale lesson. The kids were so focused on reading a variety of folktales from around the world. Overheard one girl saying how great it was to be able to just sit and read picture books during class. Another was so excited to find similarities with folktales from the same country. Now we start with researching the countries or origin.

I also got to work with 6th graders on VoiceThread. I gave them minimal instruction -- just had them watch me create a short thread. Then set them loose. They are working on skills for a digital storytelling project. So, no great projects today -- just a chance to play with the site and learn what it can do. So many of them begged to be able to do more at home. You have to like that -- begging for homework!

Today's podcast features one of my very favorite books of 2007. Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is such a wonderful story. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he was bringing me back to my own childhood.

Life during the 1960s were a bit different than we are used to now. On Wednesday afternoons, while his Catholic and Jewish schoolmates leave school to attend religious classes, Holling Hoodhood, the only Presbyterian in his seventh grade, is alone in the classroom with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. Holling is convinced that Mrs. Baker hates him. After all, if it wasn't for him, Mrs. Baker would have the afternoon to herself. But she is stuck with the only kid with nowhere to go. To fill their Wednesday afternoons, Mrs. Baker has Holling read Shakespearean plays. Much to Holling's surprise, he finds he really likes Shakespeare! And he looks forward to their Wednesday afternoon discussions. But he still thinks Mrs. Baker hates him.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Let it snow!

Yea, snow.  We're supposed to get about 12".  And no school!!!  Love these days. Time to sit back, have a cup of tea, start the fireplace and do up the Christmas cards.  I love this!

Today's podcast is for John LIthgow's book Mahalia Goes to College.  This book is based on a speech Litgow gave during college graduation.  It is a sweet story showing that, with hard work, anyone can achieve their dream.

Lithgow, John.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2007.

Mahalia Mouse is sent out to find food for her family.  They live under a dormitory at Harvard University.  Mahalia accidentally ends up in a classroom and becomes enthralled with the science lecture going on.  Is there anyway that a little mouse can go to school at Harvard University?

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Beach Reads?

I just got back from the grocery store. The lines are really long as everyone tries to stock up on items in anticipation of the nor'easter tonight. I am always amused at the panic the first storm creates. You would think that these people had never seen 12" of snow before. It's like they fear being cut off from civilization over a few flakes of snow. Anyway, I was going down the aisle of "Seasonal Items" expecting to see lots of Christmas stuff -- which I did. I also found a book display stand. Not one to pass up a good book display, I stopped -- and burst out laughing. It was a display for Beach Reads. Guaranteed to withstand sand and surf. Perfect for your day at the beach! Someone at the store must have been cleaning out the store room and thought this would be funny for the first snow storm of the year. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it before I got home! I don't remember all the titles but I do remember that they were all from Penguin!!!

I'm resurrecting my television show -- Kids Book Beat. We've been on hiatis but it is time to start talking about book again. Most of the shows will be done in the old format -- kids sitting around discussing books. But this year we are also going to do some video casting for our school podcast and we are doing booktalks (such a surprise that I would pick that!) We have a ways to go but Tom was good enough to do our first one. These will just be getting better as we go along.

Here's Tom talking about Eldest:

Today's podcast is Levine, Gail Carson. FAIRY HAVEN AND THE QUEST FOR THE WAND

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow day!

OK, it's Saturday but I can dream.  I just uploaded the December update of Booktalks Quick and Simple and am watching the news.  Big doings yesterday with a hostage taking at the Clinton headquarters a few towns over.  Took over the whole television schedule for hours.  So, I'm catching up on other news and the weather.  Looks like we are in for our first big snow on Sunday night into Monday.  Looks like our first snow day on Monday!!!  So it's appropriate to feature Laminack's Snow Day on today's podcast!

Laminack, Lester L.  SNOW DAY!
Atlanta : Peachtree, 2007
IL K-3, RL 1.6
ISBN 1561454184
Wait a minute!  What did the weatherman just say?  Did he say what I think he said?  What I hope he said?  Yes!  Snow is in the air.  I can't wait.  We're sure to have a snow day tomorrow.  No alarms.  No running around getting ready.  Just sipping hot chocolate under the blanket while we watch TV.  Sledding too.  And lots of playing.  I'm sure the weatherman just said snow.

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